State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki on reports of US-Taliban talks in Qatar: 'We are not in direct talks with the Taliban, and there have not been any direct talks between the US and the Taliban since January 2012, when the Taliban broke them off' - @NBCNews
Editor's note: CNN is reporting, via sources that the Pentagon suspects that 1 of the 5 Taliban detainees released from Guantanamo in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been attempting militant activity from his current location in Qatar. - Jillian
Secretary of State John Kerry says he welcomes Qatari Court of Appeals' decision to overturn Matthew and Grace Huang's conviction; 'deeply concerned about new delays that have prevented their departure' - statement
Qatari immigration officials blocked Matthew and Grace Huang from leaving Sunday and confiscated their passports just hours after an appeals court overturned a child endangerment verdict against them, spokesman says - @AP
Qatar (/ˈkɑːtɑr/, /ˈkɑːtər/ or /kəˈtɑr/; Arabic: قطر Qatar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlaṫ Qatar), is a sovereign Arab country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island kingdom of Bahrain. In 2013, Qatar's total population was 1.8 million; 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates.
Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he deposed his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d'état. He later abdicated in favor of his son, current Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in June 2013. Qatar's semi-elected Majlis al Shura has very limited legislative authority. After Saudi Arabia, Qatar is the second most conservative society in the GCC as most Qataris adhere to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.
Qatar is the world's richest country per capita and has the highest human development in the Arab World; furthermore, it is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank. Qatar has the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels. Qatar has become an influential player in the Arab world. Qatar supported several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and by asserting global influence through its expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to host the event.